Zequinha's winner saved the day for ATK - The Talking Points

Rohit Ganguly  |  Indian Super League  |  1 Year Ago

ATK quelled North-East's recently gained victory momentum as the Kolkata based franchise pipped The Highlanders by a solitary goal. 


The stand-off was shattered on the 73rd minute after Zequinha, the Portuguese talisman struck home from close range, leaving the hosts unsettled once and for all.


Kolkata dictated terms right since the outset of the game and the upshot was evident enough as the Highlanders were toyed with across the entire game.


We will now sneak a peek into the five pointers which tipped the scales of the game.

ATK's prodigal nature could have cost them dearly but thanks to a Zequinha screamer

Right since the first whistle, ATK started firing on all cylinders. However, it seemed as if the bullets from ATK's canons were either too feeble to inflict any permanent dent on North-East or they were simply too haywire. 


In the first-half, it was all ATK who held sway and pushed North-East right onto the wall. Zequinha whipped in several delectable crosses which went begging either due to poor finishing by the strikers or simply because those crosses failed to find any tactile beings treading on the pitch.


The best chance of the half, fell for Zequinha as the Portuguese footballer's powerful shot flew inches away from the far post on the half-hour mark.



Rane's diligent essays down the right-wing never saw the light of the day as Robin Singh seemed too cumbersome to move and meet those crosses with force.


Robin Singh was handed with an opportunity on a silver platter when Zequinha whipped in a peach of a cross but the former's header was extremely emaciated to harrow Rehenesh.


Kolkata's attacks seemed to manifold exponentially in the second-half as Zequinha found himself as the creator of all the pyrotechnics. His efforts went down the drain as the other players seemed too obdurate to score.


Zequinha, however, was rewarded righteously for his efforts as he was gifted a loose ball by Sambinha and the former stung the ball into the top-right corner of the net breaking the impasse.

North-East never had the will to play today's game as lackluster will be an understatement for them

Right since the outset, North-East was being toyed with by the visitors. Had it not been for the profligacy of Kolkata, the scoreline could have been a lot more ignominious for the home team.


The goal they conceded was a result of a howler from Sambinha when he played the ball onto an advancing and a famished Zequinha who punished them with tantamount brilliance.


They could have conceded several goals because of their howlers earlier in the game. Rehenesh in an attempt to tease Robin almost lost the ball to the towering striker but was lucky enough to clear the ball from his ambit.


A similar howler was committed by Goncalves later in the game as Taylor, a former Newcastle player, almost scored from close range due to a completely misjudged interception from the North-East player. 


Marcinho, the hero of the match for the previous encounter for the Highlanders seemed very reticent as he hardly received the ball. He tried to make a few attempts from quite some distance, but they were not powerful enough to harrow Debjit.


A dominant display in the midfield from Kolkata stole the night

Kolkata probably played their best game of the season despite the absence of their star Irish striker, Robbie Keane. However, one must admit the beauty of the Kolkata midfield for the game stunned every single onlooker in the stands.


Packed with players like Hitesh Sharma, Jayesh Rane, Prabir Das and Keegan Pereira, the midfield scintillated such bright sparks, that it left the Highlanders dazzled.


Jayesh Rane and Prabir Das kept on harrowing and hustling the hosts with their incessant blazing runs down the wings and with their clinically precise crosses. However, most of them went down the drain as the strikers were very quiescent and failed to nudge home even from close-range.


This midfield ensured the fact that the defence-line of Kolkata never had to face any major infringements as Prabir Das and Keegan Pereira ran along the entire length of the midfield to thwart anything that came flying. Concomitantly they also connected stupendously with Zequinha, the bloke who charged just below the striking zone and struck horror into the hearts of the Highlanders.

T.P Rehenesh was the sole warrior for North-East

Rehenesh, the strapping lad from Kerala and possibly one of the best custodians of the nation at the moment exuded panache under the woodwork as he parried off several attempts from Kolkata.


He almost committed a howler on the 30th minute as he tried to tease Robin Singh. The sturdy striker charged for the ball, expecting to take Rehenesh head-on. However, the custodian redeemed his mistake and cleared the ball just in time to deny ATK the lead.


His phenomenal display under the woodwork continued as his aquiline reflexes helped him to snatch the ball from the header of Robin Singh after the latter made a hash of things from a delectable cross.



Rehenesh traded another stinging shot of Zequinha for a rebound however, the rebound was shot right into another North East player by Ryan Taylor.


He finally had to lay his guard down despite another brazen save on that occasion. Robin's meaty piledriver was saved by a gritty Rehenesh but the rebound from which Zequinha slammed the ball home, was too much to be asked from Rehenesh.

Zequinha was the man of the hour as he came to the visitors' deliverance

The Portuguese marksman exuded sheer brilliance as Kolkata fired on all cylinders. Right since the first whistle, he stung on all fronts as he either laid off the strikers with defence-splitting passes or he whipped in delectable crosses from both wings.


When his created opportunities went begging over and over again, this man stepped up to the task of unleashing fiery shots at the goal himself in order to rattle the deadlock.


A couple of his shots were parried away by Goncalves and Rehenesh respectively and both were brilliant saves. 


However, his relentless belligerence finally fructified on the 73rd minute after Sambinha played the ball onto him in cursory. He finally managed to fire the ball home with a powerful shot and tucked the ball into the top-right corner of the net leaving Rehenesh stranded.


He could have easily doubled his tally only if the stickler wouldn't have waved off two of his genuine penalty appeals earlier in the game. He was rightly adjudged as the man of the match.

Can ATK make it to the Top-4?


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